What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

09 November 2010

A Generation Gap

I've volunteered for UT a few times now, and some things always strike me:

1. These newly-minted adults are so willing to give up their free time, without too much complaining.
2. They are very eager to help with whatever needs done.
3. They are actually a lot of fun to be around.
4. We always have an amusing conversation, one way or another; either about majors, or life, or the funny thing the parents/roommates/classmates/teachers said, or "Wow, you really don't go out? Oh, you're married? Whoa, how old are you?"

However, being a person with quite an interest in generational differences, I've noticed other things, too. And after an hour or two, some of the "other" things begin to wear on me to the point that I must find an urgent appointment anywhere else. And by way of disclaimer: I'm calling these generational, but it's entirely possible that they are cultural, but not practised in the Cheeky house or among those we spend time with.

1. Our culture enjoys seeing the awkward. This generation revels in the awkward. And unlike previous generations, who resigned themselves to being teased when doing something awkward, goofy, or even a little bit weird, this generation takes self-deprecation to the highest level and preemptively makes a ruckus at the slightest misstep. And when one considers that humans are essentially walking bundles of awkward, goofy, and weird, each person is bound to have a ruckus at regular intervals. And in a group of twenty or so people-- I'm sure you get the picture. I can only listen to about 10 minutes before I need a cuppa. (This is why I could never be a teacher.)

Which leads me to:
2. This generation does not like being alone. It happens, of course, but rather infrequently for those in a position to do anything about it. I'm perfectly happy sitting by myself, reading or listening or whatever, and I have been known to get some strange looks from those who may well be wondering why I abruptly stopped talking to them and retreated to the furthest corner of the room, cuppa in hand. It's interesting to sit & watch a group, and see the "I'm all by myself!!" ruckus that repeats every time someone accidentally wanders three feet away from a group of people. Another cuppa, please.

These traits aren't exactly new, but I think they've been exacerbated enhanced by social networking. After all, these people have spent the last several years announcing things on Twitter; why not do it in person, too?

I wonder if things will change as these young adults become the newly-employed, the new homeowners, the newly-married, perhaps, and the new parents. Or, will this be the cultural norm for the next 20 or so years? For that matter, what will the next generational quirk be?

There may not be enough tea leaves in the known universe.


Marieke said...

Intriguing... I honestly don't have a sensible reply right now, but it intrigues me. Thanks for sharing!

Su said...

Hee hee. I'm not sure I have a sensible reply, either. Which is why I spend a lot of time at uni quietly wondering what's happened to the universe. :)